Environmental Investigations in Progress

Environmental Investigations in Progress

How we manage site investigations

The discovery of asbestos containing material is not uncommon across Australia due to its popularity as a building material until the 1980s. In Penrith, Council treats the discovery of asbestos with strict policies and procedures as the safety of our staff and the community is our number one priority. 

In most cases, asbestos found in our area is non-friable. This type poses a lower risk due to the fibres being bound together with cement type material. NSW Health outline that this type of asbestos, if in good condition or left undisturbed, does not present a significant health risk. Further information on asbestos can be found on NSW Health website.

Council’s Divisional Assurance Team respond and manage asbestos related matters that impact Council owned land and buildings. When asbestos is found, strict procedures are implemented to ensure that the community and our workers are safe. The team works with licensed asbestos contractors, licensed asbestos assessors, consultants, and NSW Hazmat units to ensure that all SafeWork NSW and Environment Protection Authority requirements are met. This includes (but is not limited to) removing any asbestos risks, implementing suitable controls, undertaking air monitoring and clearance inspections in accordance with SafeWork NSW Code of Practice and undertake detailed environmental Investigations where more complex situations arise.

To meet all these requirements and depending on the complexity of the situation, it can take some time to undertake all necessary investigation, clean up the site and conduct remediation works. Suitable controls are implemented and we strive to provide effective communication to the public in proximity to the site and any groups or organisations who use the site on these matters.

We take every asbestos matter seriously and take all measures necessary to protect our community and workers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Harold Corr Oval, Cambridge Park

As previously advised, asbestos testing was undertaken at Harold Corr Oval, Cambridge Park, in July 2021 as part of Penrith City Council’s planned upgrades to the Oval.

This testing has revealed that areas of the site will require remediation in line with SafeWork NSW and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. Council has engaged a Class A licensed asbestos contractor to undertake the remediation work on the site. This work will involve the excavation of contaminated material to be encapsulated on site.

Weather permitting, the work will commence on Monday 18 October 2021 and take approximately four weeks to complete.

The work will be overseen by an independent licensed asbestos assessor, who will ensure all SafeWork NSW and NSW EPA requirements are met. This will include undertaking air monitoring to ensure there are no airborne risks to the community.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please contact Marco De Stefanis, Major Projects Coordinator, on 4732 8099.

Bennett Park, St Marys 

 As previously advised, Penrith City Council engaged an independent licensed asbestos assessor to undertake further asbestos testing at Bennett Park, St Marys. 

Unfortunately, there are a few areas that present sub-surface asbestos concerns across the site.
We appreciate the situation may cause concern for site users, however, it is important to understand that this does not present a direct risk as the asbestos concerns are below the ground surface and Council has appropriate management practices in place. 

In addition to this, a Clearance Certificate has recently been obtained. A Clearance Certificate is issued under SafeWork NSW ‘How to Safely Remove Asbestos’ Code of Practice. This cannot be issued unless the inspection area is free of surface asbestos. Council engages an independent SafeWork licensed asbestos assessor and once the tested site complies with SafeWork NSW requirements, Council obtains a Clearance Certificate from the independent assessor. 

As Council has received a Clearance Certificate for Bennett Park’s surface, the fencing around the bike track will be removed and the community will then be safe to use the site. 

Further information on the site and the proposed project will be updated on Council’s website. 

Penrith City Council takes every environmental investigation and all asbestos matters seriously.
The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority. 

If you have any questions about the proposed project, please contact Matt Hill, Community Facilities and Recreation Planning & Projects Officer, on 4732 8655.  
If you have any questions regarding the completed investigation, please contact Jonathan Page, Asbestos Management Officer, on 4732 7750. 

Parker Street Sporting Fields, Penrith

Pre-remediation testing was undertaken at Parker Street Sporting Fields, Penrith, in August. The pre-remediation testing revealed that a small portion of the northern and southern fields of the site required remediation.

Penrith City Council has since engaged a licensed asbestos contractor to undertake the required remediation work on the site, which included the removal of asbestos contaminated soil and the installation of clean fill.

The remediation work was overseen by an independent Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA), who ensured all SafeWork NSW and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements were met. Air monitoring was also undertaken which confirmed there were no airborne risks to the community.

The LAA has issued the final Validation Report in line with SafeWork NSW and NSW EPA requirements. The Validation Report confirms that all appropriate action was taken to ensure the site is safe for the community and our workers.

The planned project works for the site can now recommence and will include:
• a new amenity building
• improvements to the existing athletics amenity building and storage
• floodlighting upgrades, and
• irrigation, fencing and playing surface upgrade to the southern fields for rugby league use.

The completion of all upgrades to the sporting fields is expected in December 2022.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions about the upgrades to the sporting fields, please contact Tim Whiticker, Recreation and Community Facilities Planner, on 4732 8186. If you have any questions about the completed remediation works, please contact Jonathan Page, Asbestos Management Officer, on 4732 7750.

176 Victoria Street, Werrington

Environmental investigations were undertaken at 176-184 Victoria Street, Werrington, and revealed several areas of the site that are subject to sub-surface contamination. The contamination on site has been attributed to localised historic issues including the demolition of a cottage several decades ago and historic illegal dumping of waste.

The contaminated areas of the site will require remediation in line with SafeWork NSW and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. Penrith City Council has engaged a licensed asbestos contractor to undertake the remediation work on the site. This work will involve the placement of a safety encapsulation layer, including the installation of geo-fabric and clean fill.

An ecological endangered vegetation community that inhabits the site is also partly impacted by subterranean asbestos contamination. These areas will be surface cleaned and fenced off to ensure the safety of the community and vegetation.

Weather permitting, this project will commence on Monday 22 November 2021 and take approximately two weeks to complete.

The work will be overseen by an independent licensed asbestos assessor, who will ensure all SafeWork NSW and NSW EPA requirements are met. This will include undertaking air monitoring to ensure there are no airborne risks to the community.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Page on 4732 7777.

Huntington Reserve, Emu Plains

Penrith City Council has been addressing an asbestos matter within Huntington Reserve, Emu Plains. The asbestos is located in two small sections of the northern creek embankment, near River Road, Emu Plains. The material is legacy waste from historic dumping.

As soon as Council became aware of the asbestos containing material, strict protocols were implemented. This included implementing suitable controls such as warning barricades, application of geofabric, signage and applying a bonding agent to the material to prevent the release of asbestos fibres.

In addition, Council engaged an independent licensed asbestos assessor to conduct an assessment. The assessment concluded that the material is non-friable asbestos and that there is no airborne risk from the asbestos. NSW Health outlines that non-friable asbestos poses a low health risk if it is not being disturbed. This is because the asbestos fibres are bonded together, and the asbestos fibres cannot be readily released into the atmosphere.

Council recently engaged licensed asbestos contractors to commence removing the asbestos material. This process was a complex operation as the waste was positioned on a steep embankment of the creek line.

During this removal operation, approximately 1.2 tonnes of waste was removed from the site. Unfortunately, the removal operation had to be suspended as an assessment on the site showed that any further removal works had the potential to destabilise the creek embankment which could in turn cause other safety and environmental hazards.

Any remaining material in this location is located within the sub-soil of the embankment. In turn, it has been secured and covered with geofabric. The area has also been fenced off, with asbestos signs erected.

What is the next step?
Council will continue to manage the asbestos risk on site. In addition, we will be seeking further expert and technical advice on the most appropriate method to remove the remaining waste while protecting the embankments integrity.

Should you have any questions please contact Jonathan Page on 4732 7750.

Rickaby’s Creek Bushland Reserve, Londonderry

Rickaby’s Creek Bushland Reserve, Londonderry, is an important tract of land consisting of "Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland”, which is listed as a vulnerable ecological community under the State Government’s Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
While in relatively good condition, unfortunately, the "Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland” in this Reserve was found to be impacted and threatened by weeds, soil erosion, unauthorised track making, unauthorised car and motorbike entry, firewood collection and waste dumping.
In consultation with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Penrith City Council’s Bushland Management Team and the Rural Fire Service (RFS), a Project Plan was developed for the Reserve. The Project Plan consisted of 3 components:

1. Restricting unauthorised vehicle access
2. Removing hazardous waste (such as asbestos)
3. Rehabilitation of degraded bushland

As restricting vehicle access and waste removal is nearing completion, the rehabilitation works can commence. While the bulk of these works will be carried out in the coming months, the rehabilitation phase will be an ongoing commitment.
Council’s Bushland Management Team will begin to repair the damage caused by historical impacts to the Reserve. This will include weed eradication, rehabilitation of threatened species populations, repair of unauthorised tracks and informative signage.

While these rehabilitation works are being carried out, you are encouraged to walk in this bushland and appreciate this unique parcel of “Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland”. If you would like to be a part of the bushcare rehabilitation works, you are encouraged to contact the Bushland Management Team via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Jonathan Page, Asbestos Management Officer, on 4732 7750.

Hickey's Lane, Penrith

A south-western section of the Hickey’s Lane, Penrith, site has recently been affected by earthworks, that has unearthed waste material, including asbestos. This waste is associated with its previous use as a landfill site. To ensure the safety of site users, and the public, the area has been covered in black Geofabric and fenced off while a permanent remediation solution is implemented.

Leonay Parade Reserve, Leonay 

As previously advised, a small section of Leonay Parade Reserve, Leonay, was recently excavated as part of the proposed equipment upgrade works and revealed some asbestos fragments. As soon as the suspected asbestos containing material was found, Penrith City Council staff immediately implemented strict procedures to make the area safe.

Council engaged a licensed asbestos contractor to undertake the excavation work on the site, which involved the removal of asbestos contaminated soil.

The excavation work involving asbestos contamination was overseen by an independent Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA), who ensured all SafeWork NSW and NSW EPA requirements were met. Air monitoring undertaken ensured there were no airborne risks to the community. The LAA has also issued a Clearance Certificate for the area to confirm the inspection area is free of surface asbestos.

The construction of the new playground is now underway with completion expected in early December.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Page on 4732 7777.

Corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street, St Marys

A visual inspection of the corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street, St Marys, was recently undertaken by Penrith City Council staff. During this inspection, some asbestos concerns were identified. As soon as the suspected asbestos containing material was found Council staff immediately implemented strict procedures to make the area safe.

To facilitate further investigation of the site, Council has engaged a suitably qualified consultant to undertake an environmental investigation in the area outlined below (Figure 1).

picture1

Figure 1: Map identifying the area requiring investigation at the corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street, St Marys. 

Weather permitting, the work will be completed on Friday 19 November 2021.

To ensure public safety, the following safety measures will be implemented:

  • All SafeWork NSW and Environment Protection Authority requirements will be followed.
  • Access to the investigation areas will be restricted to the public during the works.
  • Signage will be placed on the site, where required.
  • Air monitoring will be undertaken to ensure there are no airborne risks to the community.

During the investigation works, you may notice that the consultants on site will be wearing coveralls. This is a precautionary requirement in case the consultants come across any asbestos during their investigations. Importantly, even if asbestos is found, the above-mentioned air monitoring will ensure that there are no airborne risks to the community.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Page on 4732 7777.

127a Wrench Street Cambridge Park

A visual inspection of 127a Wrench Street Cambridge Park was undertaken by Penrith City Council staff. During this inspection, some asbestos concerns were identified. As soon as the suspected asbestos containing material was found, Council staff immediately implemented strict procedures to make the area safe.

Council has engaged a licensed Asbestos Contractor to remove the suspected asbestos containing material. The removal work will be overseen by an independent licensed Asbestos Assessor, who will issue a Clearance Certificate for this work. The Clearance Certificate confirms the surface area is free of surface asbestos.

It is anticipated this work will be undertaken as soon as possible, in line with the Environmental Protection Authority waste classification requirements.

Penrith City Council takes every asbestos incident seriously. The safety of residents, the community and our staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your understanding. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Page on 4732 7777.